ALMOST LIVE!!! From the CIFF

Hey y’all Movie lubbers!!The Evil One here, reporting almost live from the Calgary International Film Festival!!!What is a Calgary, you ask?Film Festival, you say?International?Evil who, now?Read it or get off the pot biznitches!! Howdy folks!He who is all that is Eeeeeevil here coming to you from the Calgary International Film Festival in beautiful downtown Cowtown.Due to my strenuous enslavement to The Man, I have only been able to catch a couple of attractions at this years Festival, but it has still been a much livelier and well-organized affair than in recent years. Sure, there’s still an overabundance of superfluous volunteers who get paid nothing to stand around blank-eyed and be of no help whatsoever, but this year most of them are cute. The “official” box-office is located at a downtown Bay store, and the biggest celebrities in attendance are rumored to be Canadian Indie stalwart Don McKellar, MuchMusic original Terry David Mulligan (or TDM as we Canucks love to call him) and Joely Collins cutie pie actress/daughter of Phil. That doesn’t mean that it can’t still be a fun and exciting Movie-go-nuts experience.Case in point. Opening night of the festival, Cousin Dini, myself, a large number of fellow Noir devotees and about 60 other curious festivales attended a screening of Billy Wilders classic DOUBLE INDEMNITY, roundly considered the granddaddy of them all (them all being the entire Film Noir genre). You have not seen a dark and seedy flick like DOUBLE INDEMNITY until you’ve seen it in a dark and antiquated theatre with a crowd of like-minded fans. I was vibrating with excitement for days before the show, and was still rambling on about it days later.I also caught Bobby Mitchum and the unbelievably gorgeous Jane Greer in the Tourneur film OUT OF THE PAST another classic Film Noir from 1947. The theatre was entirely peopled with fans of the film and the feeling of appreciation and shared excitement was palpable throughout the film and after. As with DOUBLE INDEMNITY, the crowd stood and cheered for the film at the end. It was an altogether unforgettable experience, just like when the small local theatres used to feature midnight shows of THE BLUES BROTHERS, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, THE EXORCIST and the EVIL DEAD flicks. Seeing these old favorites on a big screen with a crowd reminds me why I fell in love with the movies in the first place.I missed my chance at SAW and Luis Bunuels groundbreaking UN CHIEN ANDALOU, as well as THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, DEAD & BREAKFAST, Almadovars LA MALA EDUCACION, JU-ON, I, CURMUDGEON and a host of others.Night before last I managed to sneak in another Film Noir with Cousin Dini – NIGHTMARE ALLEY starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell and a short film much talked about in film lover circles – THE PORCELAIN *censored* (not a softcore porn, but a gender switching satire of Noir standbys). The short was funny and very well produced, but the hype brought out a rabble of obnoxious wannabe knobs who then proceeded to yap and joke and annoy the audience throughout NIGHTMARE ALLEY.I still hope to hit a couple more flicks before Sunday, but we’ll see what fate has in store. I’m thinking about IRON GIANT, THE LIFE OF BRIAN, THE WIZARD OF OZ, the TRAILERVISION sampler WHY CAN’T I BE A MOVIE STAR or the doc AMERICAN BEER. There’s also LA DOLCE VITA, THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL, Sam Fullers PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET and the Closing Gala film BEING JULIA with Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons. My point in all of this (besides reeling off a list of films at the festival) is to point out that these festivals – while full of overly serious and pandering documentaries and government funded pap, boring foreign sludge and local films unfit for Cable Access – still offer a wide variety of films for movie lovers of all stripes. If you are lucky to live in or near a city with a fest, check it out! It’s not all glad-handing and backslapping by self-important narcissistic wannabes, sometimes you can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a film you’ve always love, or a film you’d otherwise never have a chance to see.And while I’m at it, don’t neglect the smaller theatres in your city or town. They’re the ones who are going to do you favors and pick up the edgy, controversial and uncommercial fare that many of us love to love. Now, you’ve got your ticket, your hot buttered corn, a jumbo-colossal bevvie and a box of Ju-Ju-Beeeeees. Kick back and enjoy the magic. It is, as Bogey says in THE MALTESE FALCON, “the stuff that dreams are made of.”

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